Before getting to the world's "disrupter in chief and his antics at the recent horrifying Brussels NATO summit, let us have a look at the collateral damage the presidency of Donald Trump is causing to the transatlantic community that was developed during the last seventy years on both sides of the Atlantic. "U.S.-loving Germans planning life without transatlantic ties" and "Germany bids farewell to the post-war order" have been recent headlines of Handelsblatt Global.
As someone who first came to the United States in 1964 as a junior banker and took over the position of U.S. correspondent for the German financial and business daily Handelsblatt in 1967, working in New York and Washington for almost two decades, I have seen U.S. presidencies and administrations come and go.
The experience from Berlin of watching as Trump puts all his energy into tearing down the foundations of transatlantic relations as the "world's disrupter in chief is horrifying and depressing. What happened to Europe after World War I and leading to World War II is a reminder of why, for my generation, the European Union with all its failures is a peace project and NATO's Western military alliance has provided its protection.
After decades of meetings on both sides of the Atlantic, contacts, insights, certainties, and friendships remain ingrained. No "fake news" or conspiracy theory can undermine what has been experienced. Watching Lawrence Kudlow on CNN and CNBC from Berlin, I recall sitting next to the man who is now Trump's economic adviser at a conference for two days wondering why he was constantly hitting at Germany and the European Union as a bastion of socialism that would go under economically and politically. Writing for TIE since the 1980s, a magazine that was established as backup for stronger and broader economic and monetary cooperation in such fora as the G5, G7, and G20, became for me a transatlantic and global learning process for better understanding over the decades.
THE ATLANTIC BRUCKE AND THE COUNCIL ON GERMANY
It was Marion Countess Donhoff, publisher and chief editor of Die Zeit, Germany's most influential liberal weekly newspaper, who suggested in the 1970s that I join the Atlantic Brucke (Atlantic Bridge), the elite non-profit organization set up in 1952. At that time, Germany's first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, was making sure that the young Bundesrepublik built strong links to the West as a defense in the Cold War.
Atlantic Brucke is an invite-only organization that counts senior politicians, diplomats, and influential businesspeople among its members. Its goal is to foster German-American understanding and "trans-Atlanticism" under the assumption that good relationships between the United States, Canada, and Europe are essential to the security and prosperity of the liberal Western world order. Not many know that it was the Atlantic Brucke that--in consideration of the millions of American service members who served in Germany during the postwar decades--supported meetings and discussions among the military leaderships on...